Make Mine a Movie

19 07 2014

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s post, Whimsy – Living Life Out Loud.

I got so fired up about living a better life that I searched for more videos by Donald Miller and Bob Goff. It didn’t take long to realize that I’m missing out on a lot of living!

Then I began to wonder:  How on earth could I do things differently? Don came to the rescue with this suggestion (for those of you who don’t want to watch the 22-minute YouTube video below). I’ve added comments of my own as well to clarify some of the points:

1. Write down the things we want.

2. Imagine watching a movie about the kind of life that would get these things, working through each one at a time.

The example he gives is of a man who wants a BMW. His movie is about him working hard all his life as a grocery clerk. At the end of the movie, he buys the car of his dreams and drives off into the sunset. His big conflict? Earning enough money to buy the car. {yawn}

Would we be likely to recommend this epic movie to our friends and family? Hardly. Would it make us cry when he got what he really wanted? No. This would be a boring movie.

Is there anything wrong with wanting a BMW? No. But if it is what drives us to get up each morning (no pun intended), then it’s a very small story.

3. If the ‘movie’ stinks, cross the desire off the list. Demote it to a subplot if you want, but it’s not a worthy purpose for which we will trade our lives to attain.

4. If the ‘movie’ looks like it could be an epic, anticipate what some of the conflicts might be.

5. A good ‘movie’ must require effort, will include failure, and times when we don’t think we will make it through, and cry out in desperation. It requires something of us.

6. Circle the ones that would make a good movie.

7. Imagine the climactic scenes. For instance, one ‘movie’ may be to get married and have a family.

This story will require relationship, marital conflicts, self-sacrifice, and love…all great components of an epic movie (a little different outlook for those of us who are parents, eh? I hadn’t thought about parenthood quite from this angle.)

The climax of this story is when the child is newly born and being held my Mom or Dad. So…

8. Between now and then, put no scenes into your movie that will interrupt the climactic ending.

You can ‘edit’ your life as you go through each day. “Will this action/activity move me closer to the climax – or will it hinder/prevent reaching the desired end?” Our choices will be determined by the story we want to tell with our lives.

Outside influences will become conflicts to be overcome, as well. We can’t control other people or circumstances, but we can choose whether they will be permitted to derail our movie or get us to quit trying altogether.

The Bible says, “Where there is no vision (revelation), My people perish…” Prov. 29:18. We must have an idea of what we want to accomplish, and what we’ve been created for if we are to attain our goals.

Here’s to living a better story!

 

If you’d rather hear what Don had to say (so much more than I’ve shared here…;)), here’s his talk (same one I posted as a PS yesterday.)





Pit Crew

17 07 2014

I’m a “mastery” sort of person. Once I’ve done something well, I rarely repeat it, but want to move on to learn something new.

For this reason, I’d be a lousy race car driver! After about 3 or 4 laps, I’d dust off my hands and say, “Okay, got that figured out. What can we do next?” Then drive off the track and on to the next adventure!

Speaking of racers, I think they’d have handled the Wilderness Adventure with Moses better than the Israelites. They don’t mind looking at the same terrain for hours and hours while they drive in circles – and do this year after year! Just sayin’!

Life is a journey for each of us. Trials are kind of like finding oneself making laps around the track while we master how to weave in and out without causing or incurring damage, and how to take the curves without getting slung into the wall.

As with racing, one key component is a good pit crew. Without one, or even with a poor one, we don’t stand a chance in the Indy 500.

We were never intended to do life alone.

We need good people around us, ones who know their stuff – especially when we’re in the fast lane of a trial.

One of the things a pit crew handles is fresh tires. There are little balls of rubber on the track, known as ‘marbles’ which come off the tires due to the high speeds and sharp maneuvers. The tread wears off in no time. Slick tires can be deadly, making the vehicle harder to handle.

In the same way, our ‘crew’ needs to have fresh Scripture to give us, something with teeth in it that will help us get a better grip!

Our crew must be willing to wash the windows of our spirit as well, which allows a clearer view of the stuff we’re dealing with.

They need to be especially good with the gas can, able to re-fuel us with encouragement, which gives us the strength to continue.

The better our ‘pit crew,’ the better our chances of finishing well.

Above all we need the Crew Boss (Jesus) to direct the crew – and us as well. He calls us in for pit stops at just the right time, and directs the right people to the right task in order to keep us in the race. He’s awesome that way! 😉

Without a support team, we may finish the race like Lightning McQueen from Cars. We’ll  jump and bounce on our bare rims toward the finish line, with our tongue stuck out, in hopes that the checkered flag will wave for us!

Kachow!

If you haven’t seen the movie, Cars by Pixar, you should. It’s a great object lesson for those of us who think we don’t need anyone! Never get ‘too old’ to watch a good animated movie!





The Shortest Distance

15 07 2014

When I was a pilot, I learned that in order to go north, sometimes you must point the nose of the aircraft northwest. If the wind is coming from the southwest and you aim for north on the compass, you’ll end up far east of your destination. This is known as “crabbing.”

Life is no different. We get a goal in mind. As a passenger, we think we should be headed north toward that goal. Looking out the window of our mind, we keep seeing the sun at 10:30 when it should be at 9:00. We begin to get a little nervous. Surely we will miss our mark at this rate!

This is when we begin to question the Lord, and even to suggest that we take over the joystick for a while.

What we fail to realize is that the winds of adversity are blowing strong, steering us off course. Because we can’t see or feel it, or even see its effects, a glance at the compass causes us to fear. The reading isn’t zero (straight toward our destination); but is three hundred degrees. This will never do!

However, like an aircraft, sometimes we must move toward our goal sideways, like a crab.

This has been my experience over the last few months. At long last, I knew what my purpose was in this world – write songs that would impact lives.

Then I glanced at the “compass” and saw that I was flying over the land of relationships and learning to love well. This is a worthy destination, but not the one I was positive belonged to me!

We’ve flown through some heavy storms. The thunder was loud, and the lightening threatened to fry us to a crisp. Our heading was completely contrary to where I thought I was supposed to go.

One thing about Jesus, though. When He says, “Let’s go to the other side,” He doesn’t mean, “Let’s fly into this storm and end up as a plane crash.”

Little by little, He is disclosing the need for some of the detours. He’s shown the mountain peak that was barely missed, hidden in the clouds, and the radio tower that would have split us asunder.

The storm is beginning to abate, but there is damage control to be done. There were times when I refused to let the Lord lead my life, but also refused to take the wheel myself. Life was tossed here and there like a piece of paper in the wind. This is never a good plan, by the way.

The Lord is faithful, however. He is beginning the restoration process. I’m thankful that He never quits on anything He begins (Philippians 1:6). There is the promise of the return of the years the locusts have eaten as well (Joel 2:5).

So, when our lives appear to have veered off course, we must keep our eyes on the Pilot, and not the compass. He knows the path we should take, and what we will need in the way of preparation to reach our destiny. The shortest distance between two points may be a straight line, but unseen obstacles along the way may keep us from arriving!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths…even when it looks like you’re taking the long way ’round!





Stupid Distractions

28 05 2014

For the last several months, I’ve been feeling like Daniel from The Karate Kid. I enlisted the help of One who knows “Karate” well – after all, He is from the Country where “Karate” originated. I could choose none better.

I was delighted when He agreed to take me under His wing and teach me the intricacies of the craft. With great anticipation, I visited Him every day.

First we “painted the fence.” 

I got it done, and did a great job! Perhaps this was how I would “pay” for my lessons??

Enthusiasm bubbled out as I returned for my first lesson later in the week.

Imagine my confusion when I was given pads with which to “sand the floor.”

My Master was nowhere to be found while I toiled and sweated my way across the room.

As I finished my last stroke, He arrived, thanked me, and sent me home.

Confusion abounded. I lay in bed at night wondering if I was being taken for a sucker.

Nevertheless, at the appointed time I returned for my first lesson…

and spent the day “waxing cars!”

Seriously???

Fortunately, I’ve seen Karate Kid, or I’d be royally ticked right now! Although what’s happening in my life looks nothing like what I believe my ‘calling’ to be, I know that these things that appear to be distractions are, in fact, training.

For what? I have no clue.

But I have faith in the LORD, and in His ways. 

No motion is wasted when we’re being obedient. His intention is to work these natural movements deep into our “muscle memory.” That way, when the adversary comes against us, we automatically do the needed action. What seems to be pointless and completely unrelated to what we are called to do, is actually the very best training we need in order to be equipped!

I guess this is why we’re told:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

Don’t lean on your own understanding. (Especially at a time like this, when nothing makes sense!)

In all your ways acknowledge Him;

Rest in the knowledge that He IS directing your paths…even when it seems like nothing more than a distraction!

{paraphrase mine}

 





Who’s Idea Was This?

23 05 2014

When God asks us to obey, He doesn’t make us responsible for the outcome…merely for our obedience.

Sometimes, what follows when we obey looks like a train wreck. That’s when we begin to second-guess what we thought we heard.

Then we set about to fix our *mistake.*

However, from God’s perspective, everything is heading toward His desired end.

We have a situation that looks very much like this at the moment.

God asked us to make room in our home for two other families.

That’s all we were asked to do.

Love them.

Not fix them, not correct them, not have an opinion about their separate issues, take sides, or get involved.

House them.

Love them.

We obeyed.

All hell broke loose.

Oddly enough, not in our home.

Despite the various trials each of us is going through, there is a level of peace that can only be from the Lord. Each person has their own volatile test which affords enough stress to float an aircraft carrier. Thrown in with four other like people, the opportunities for conflict abound. Nevertheless, even after a couple of months we continue to enjoy the calming mantle of God’s Presence.

We fight for one another’s heart, instead of fighting one another.

Further, the Lord is providing extra funds to help cover expenses. We’ve had money drop out of nowhere unexpectedly several times.

At the same time, there have been repercussions in external relationships.

Apparently, association equals approval and support of a person’s behavior.

If that’s the case, then Jesus set a bad example for us to follow. 

Judas was embezzling. Yet, Jesus not only welcomed him into the group of disciples, but also made him their treasurer…and washed his feet along with all the “good” disciples.

In addition, Jesus obeyed God by choosing Judas after an all-night conference – and to His own hurt.

Judas betrayed him.

Sometimes obedience seems counter-productive. It may look all wrong for a while.

We will wonder if we heard correctly.

Obedience may cost us in ways we never imagined.

(We will also grow in ways we never thought possible!)

Thankfully, our part is to respond to God’s invitation to join Him in His work.

He takes full responsibility for the outcome!

I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do in and through our home.

All will end well – because it was His idea;

and He is good all the time!